Turn the clock back to 1961 and beyond. Roam those old dirt roads once more and visit friendly neighbours you knew so well. From its beginnings before 1930 to its dismantlement in 1961, making way for the Squaw Rapids Hydro-electric Dam, to the day in 1962 when the river rose and water erased footprints forever, there's a lot to remember and to comment on.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Steamboats at Mossy Vale

There were many steamers that once plied the scenic waters of the Saskatchewan River. Among them was the Northcote, from 1874 to 1886, which served the fur trade and also played a role in the 1885 Resistance on the North Saskatchewan River. Later, the David N. Winton (top photo) and the Alice Mattes (above) were photographed by a Morris camera at Mossy Vale sometime in the mid 1930s. These two boats supported The Pas Lumber Company, hauling supplies and maneuvering log rafts during annual summer log drives on the River. After freeze-up, logs were hauled from the bush by horse and sleigh to the Sipanok Channel where they were later floated down to the lumber mill at The Pas, Manitoba, after spring break-up. 

The Morris family settled not far from The Pas Lumber Company's camp at Mossy Vale and the company became an important source of employment for them. An earlier post featured William (Bill) and his brother, Peter, hauling logs on the Saskatchewan, but Bill also became a cook for the lumber company. It was a beautifully acquired skill that served him well throughout his life.

Another interesting boat that might have been observed at Mossy Vale in the 1930s, was the S.S. Nipawin, which boasted cabins and steerage. As important as all this activity was for the area, by 1958, The Pas Lumber Company closed permanently and around that time every remaining steamboat disappeared.

Photos courtesy: P. Morris collection